Monday, June 30, 2014

just when you think you have a couple things figured out...

I recovered from (or started to calm down about) the dip into the dark side when I learned of my friend's cancer recurrence. Then last night, we learned that Betty, who has been a part of my family of friends for many years, lost her brother suddenly and quite unexpectedly over the weekend. He was 57. I was stunned. No medical problems, no history of disease, active young father whose parents lived well into their 80's...and suddenly he is gone. Like a whisper.

To say there are no guarantees in life is an understatement. For a powerful read on optimism even in the face of uncertainty, read this: Rethinking the Placebo Effect by Maria Popova.

Something I have known for a long time...a little bit of realism goes a long way. And I would say I am a self-enhancer. You'll have to read the blog to find out what that means!

Our funky little truck has a shot at being painted by the art center folk and driven in the 4th of July parade. How much fun would that be? The fellow who came to inquire asked if Regis had a favorite artist. He suggested Monet but I think the truck might be more of a Jackson Pollock kind of truck.

I like to make what I call a POD. Plan of the day. I don't always follow it but it's a start. I have gotten a few things done already. Making a grocery list is not the least of them.

Make it a happy Monday!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

lifted up

Yesterday was kind of a dark day for me, for many reasons. Sometimes it happens. I reached out to some friends who were right there for me...on FB, by email, by phone, or in person. Today is much better.

I started today in much better spirits. We had coffee on the porch, then went for a long walk by the hospital. Such pretty meadows up there...and we saw a bluebird! I picked a bouquet of wild flowers and Regis took a short video of the wind blowing the grass. I'll share it here if I can ever get it to load.

Michele, Teresa, and Mary...haircut party!

Flowers and red teapot

Delicious chicken salad with fresh greens and strawberries from Betsy!

Woodrow Call

Woodrow tormenting Gus. He jumps right on Gus's head.

We took a drive to Mankato to pick up my Vitamin B12 and the syringes I needed. Walgreens charged me four bucks each for them. I can buy a hundred online for twenty bucks. Does that make any sense?

Regis grilled steaks and mushrooms and I made a gorgeous salad with Betsy's strawberries. You forget how strawberries are supposed to taste. The ones in the grocery store are like cardboard.

Oh, yeah. We pumped some iron this afternoon, too. Lucas, our trainer, will try to kill us again on Wednesday so we thought we'd try to get in some weights before that so we're prepared.

So, there you go. All the news that's fit to print.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

end o' the week in photos and stories

At my urging, Regis bought himself a man bag to carry his essentials, of which there are many. Wallet, glasses, know. We got quite a chuckle out of the wording on the outside of the bag. I wonder what they meant to say.

Yesterday, Betsy, on the left, picked me up at 8:30 and we went to Guenther's for breakfast. As we were almost ready to leave, in walks Edna. She joined us for a few minutes and we had a fine visit.

Betsy dropped me off here for an appointment with Dr. Anderson. The night before, I had developed what I learned are called flashes and floaters in my left eye. Of course, after diagnosing this on the internet (and getting more and more fearful every moment) I called the emergency number for my eye doc. He said it sounded like posterior vitreous detachment, a common occurrence as we age and I should be seen the next day. So here I was...eyes dilated.

Turns out, that is exactly what it was with no evidence of retinal involvement which is the big scare. I have to be checked again in a month and after that, only yearly.

Regis and I have been walking a lot up by River's Edge Hospital. There is very little traffic, nice clean sidewalks, and lots of nice grass for Gus to roll in when he gets warm. It's a little over a mile to make the big loop and sometimes we go two or three times.

After my eye appointment, Betsy dropped me off at the nail salon for a pedicure with Joanne. I forgot to get a photo there but it was so nice. We went to Pappageorge and had lunch and good conversation.

I had a 3:30 haircut appointment so I popped into the jewelry store to get my found ring checked. She said she was not a gemologist but to her it looked like pink rubies or pink sapphires. I'll hunt up a gemologist to get the final verdict.

My next stop was Mary's hair salon for a haircut and some gabbing with friends. Lola was there, then Michele came to get this cool star cut into her hair.

Today, it has threatened rain, or really rained, all day. I am tired of the gloom but at least all the roads and bridges are open for now. We get enough darkness in the winter...I want bright sunshine in the summer. We might take a walk down to the fairgrounds to see if there's any barbecue left.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

roads open

Yesterday when Betty and I went to Mankato for the Art Walk, most of the roads in the area were closed. We had to go almost to Nicollet, come out in North Mankato, and then cross town on 14 to get there from here. It wasn't so inconvenient for us because we were just horsing around but for some people, it was a major butt burn. Today, roads between St. Peter and Mankato are open.

The Art Walk was a hoot of a time. Some of the sculptures we liked very this one of the sea turtles. Some were more abstract and we, with our pedestrian cultural minds, didn't get it. We had a nice lunch, browsed a few shops, and headed home for some relaxation about 3 o'clock.

This morning I went to Livestrong with Michele. They thanked the volunteers at the end but I feel I take as much as I give there. We worked on endurance. Andrea, who is usually quiet, shouted at Laurie and I to get moving...if we could talk that much we must not be working very hard. Ha! We laughed...and worked harder.

I spent three hours in my garden this afternoon hoeing out those insidious little weeds that seem to have come with the heavy rain. What the hell are they? There must have been a bazillion of them because I had to move everything to get at all of them. I had decided not to use Preen this year, but relented after this mess.

I also doused myself with bug spray...the toxic kind...because the mosquitoes have discovered me again. They seemed to avoid me for the year after chemo and radiation. I was radioactive or something. We're back in the saddle when it comes to mosquitoes.

I had 8 visitors to the little library this afternoon. Some people are reluctant to take a book even when I encourage them and say it doesn't matter if they don't have one to leave. Four kids came by on their way home from the pool and each took one. One little boy took the book Old Turtle...a signed copy.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

road closed

This is a real picture taken by Regis sometime this morning. Roads and bridges are closed all over the place making it difficult to travel anywhere from anywhere else. There have been mud slides on the steep hillsides of 169, the 99 bridge is closed, and the 22 bridge may close soon. Henderson, a tiny town to our north has had three houses damaged or washed away by mudslides. Many people have water in their basements. Fortunately, there have been no injuries and people are using common sense.

I don't know why the road closed signs seem apropos today. I haven't been writing much lately and I miss it. I think my routine changed...rather than sitting in the office in the morning, we are having coffee on the porch. I can't write very well on my iPad and have gotten out of the habit of using my laptop.

I liked using my blog as a place to not only document some of the events of our lives but also to just see where the writing takes me. Sometimes it takes me down a winding road and I end up in a place I didn't know was there. Sometimes the road is closed.

The dog park in town is closed because it is underwater. Fish swim in it now. The water is up past the five foot fence. Gus misses it but Regis has taken him to the one in Mankato a couple times and we have found a dog-friendly place to take him for walks. He can off-leash and chase balls so he enjoys it.

I asked Regis to take some pictures of my garden to celebrate the Summer Solstice yesterday. He did and they are beautiful. I need to get out there to weed but it's been so wet and so buggy that I keep putting it off. Some tiny weeds are sprouting everywhere but not one blade of all the grass seed I planted.

It's our anniversary today. We've been married fifteen years. Mom sent us an e-card with two old farts riding bicycles in the nude. If we wouldn't be arrested, we might be tempted to try it. Not sure how a bike seat would feel on a bare rump, however.

A shout out to some friends. Thanks to Tom and Betty for joining us for libations and food last night. Always fun to spend time with old friends. Sending light and love to Kristi and Wes. They are going through a dark time with his cancer and treatment. They could use all your prayers and positive energy for healing and peace. Karen, I hope you are doing well. You will have to email me your phone number because we switched phones and I lost a lot of things.

Well, moving on into the day. I am a slow starter some days. We're taking Gus for a walk, then ourselves to the gym for some iron pumping. We might go somewhere for a burger to celebrate our 15 wild and wacky years together.

I'll think about the road closed metaphor.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

no need for alarm

I didn't mean to alarm folks who read my blog post last night. I hope you read the one I wrote just minutes before the down and dirty one. It was joyful and optimistic...the way I feel most of the time. The cancer fears come on suddenly and harshly and the way I discharge them is to write about them. I had a wonderful weekend but then this little black cloud covered the sun for a minute and I had to write about it.

In fact, as I look back over my 2,000+ posts, most of them are joyful and optimistic. But when dark thoughts come into my head, I can't unsee them, but write them down. So, don't panic and think I am cowering in the corner or poised on the edge of the bridge. I am living my life. Aging abundantly.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

down and dirty

Since I was diagnosed with cancer, my world has been askew.

I worry about living and dying.

I can't concentrate.

I can focus on one thing at a time.

 I feel malformed.

I don't know if this will pop up in my bones? Bone Cancer?

I walked the survivor's lap last night but I don't feel like a survivor.

I felt like a fraud. I haven't survived.

I am terrified.

What if my future is metastisis and hospice?

I want to live to be 100+.

Karen, let's get together on a tropical island and drink margaritas.

I love my life. I do not want to die young.

embracing imperfection

I have been thinking a lot about imperfection my home, in my garden, in my self. I think a guy can become too obsessed with fixing everything that is imperfect but I am trying to move to a place in my life where imperfection is ok.

Everything does not need to be perfect. I like the little nick in the cupboard door where it bangs the clock if you open it too wide. I appreciate the red bud tree with the bark scarred from woodpeckers. It has a few dead branches but it's shape is interesting and it provides some shade for my garden. I'm not concerned about the lack of finished edges on our porch windows. We meant to do it but somehow never did. It's just fine the way it is.

Two weeks ago, when I published on Facebook, a picture of my friend Maude, I was not at all surprised at the number of people who knew her. A magnificent force in the world, Maude is. Who else would participate in a radio show called Polka til You Puke? I was surprised to see the name of an old friend of mine from the early 70's when I lived in Mankato. Sharon and Maude had been good friends when they worked together years ago. Sharon and I shared an apartment and a lot of good times.

So, Sharon and I become Facebook friends. Then we make a date to meet up for coffee. She showed up at my door this morning at 9 o'clock with a bag of bagels and a bald head. After we hugged and said hello, I pointed at her head and said, "Sharon, what the hell." We had a cancer story to share along with all of our memories and stories of family and friends and experiences. It's been forty years since we have seen each other regularly...and neither of us could remember the last time, but we talked for more than four hours and never slowed down once. What a gift her visit was.

I went to the American Cancer Society Relay for Life last night. I have never attended one and was a little uncomfortable attending this one. They asked me to register as a survivor which made me feel a little creepy. How long do you have to survive to qualify for that label? People introduced themselves during the program and said they had been, for example, diagnosed with cancer in 1985, again in 1993, again in 2005. I didn't like to hear that.

These are some of my Livestrong friends. We had an amazing and spiritual time at the Gustavus Arb. What a blessing this has been in my life.

Onward we go. We went to he Blues Fest for a while tonight. Saw people we know and love. Good music. Life is grand.

Sunday, June 08, 2014


My garden is just lovely this summer. I have worked hard on it for the past year. I love to sit on the little bench and watch for people to come to the little library. This is for you, Mom!

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

happy early saturday

There are lots of projects churning through our house this weekend.

  • I'm painting my little free library.
  • Regis is in charge of mounting the post which requires a post hole digger.
  •  I'm tidying up the house Even vacuumed.
  •  Possibility of some yard work being done.
  •  We would like to get in some grilling. 
  • Also might attend tonight's Grind Fu Cinema. Busy day.
That's an ambitious plan considering I slept for 90 minutes last night. I tried to take a nap this morning but sat bolt upright after 45 minutes. Even as I write this, I feel the need to rest. Haha. Maybe I'm just lazy.

A couple weeks ago, I told Regis I thought the city job of driving a little vehicle and watering flowers would be fun. Days later, he came home and said he saw our friend Maude doing it! We saw her on the street Friday and had to stop and take her picture. She is such a hoot. The story gets better. I posted this picture on Facebook and an old Mankato friend of mine saw it said she and Maude were good friends when they worked together at Johnson Fishing. Maude's photo has gotten a lot of responses which should not surprise me as she is a true character.

The boys came to install the little library yesterday so Regis came by to see how things were going. Ella and Alex were here and they had to climb right on the bus!

Teresa's Little Library is ready to go. I like the second shot because it looks like the library has legs!

Open for business!